My seven year-old granddaughter, Jordyn, had her second official lesson with trainer, Dev, yesterday. She has been riding and even showing in lead-line classes since she was a wee one, but it has been an uphill battle to build her confidence and desire to move on to doing more than a walk.
Jordyn came up with the idea of “leasing” her aunt Lauren’s horse Mickey after watching the girls at the farm enjoy and ride their leased horses. It was a brilliant idea! Although no money was ever exchanged we all went along with the concept of Jordyn having her own horse to lease.
Many of you probably wonder what happened with her pony, Snowboy. Well, he is being leased by Mia AND he has a really bumpy trot. Mickey had a much quieter schedule and was available for Jordyn. Plus, Mickey started life out as a western pleasure horse and has a little western jog (a slow trot) that is easy for Jordyn to ride.
Jordyn finally gained the confidence this summer to trot Mickey on her own. This led to her being allowed to saddle up and ride Mickey in the arena by herself (with our watchful eyes ever on her). This practice time and time without pushy parents, grandparents or aunts, allowed Jo to master stopping, starting, walking, trotting and backing her horse just when and where she wanted to without anyone bothering her.
Last week we sent her and Mickey out for their first official lesson together. Jordyn had a pretty good grasp of walking and doing a sitting trot (jog) but really had no concept of what a posting trot was. She was efficient at turning and stopping so it was a good time to add this new physical requirement of moving up and down out of the saddle in time with the horse’s four-beat trot.
Before Dev came, Kalani and I spent some time riding around with Mick and Jo. I tried to get her to post and would count 1-2, 1-2, in conjunction with Mickey’s movement. It did not go well. It was more like up 1, hold a few steps, down 2, sit a few steps. Or even sometimes, Jo went very quickly like 1-2-1-2-1-2 while Mickey was still on just the first 1-2. Is anyone following this? Synchronization was not in place.
Somehow though, last Wednesday at their first lesson, after a series of “look ahead where you are going” and “Jo, quit looking down”, Jordyn started to trot ahead with a little more pace and posting started to fall into place as well. Maybe Dev’s counting technique was just better than mine.
By this week, Jordyn was trotting like pro. She asked Dev when she could do her first “real” horse show and was told she had a few more things to master (like being on the right trotting diagonal, for instance) but it would not be long. Jordyn is ecstatic! She loves being a part of the girls at the farm and to be on the show team is the equivalent of heaven. She even dressed the part this week with tiny polo shirt on, neatly tucked into her buff breeches, with her hair cascading down her back in a braid.
Just coincidently, looking exactly like her riding mate of the day, Liv, who was executing more sophisticated riding movements on her pony at the same time.
One day soon it will be time to try her first canter. That is when it will be back to Snowboy who may hold the record for the easiest canter to ride on earth. If Jordyn asks Mickey to canter she may end up fly down the arena wall, jumping a series of jumps and landing in a heap in the sand. So, probably better not to ask her to try that. But there will be lots of shows doing just walk-trot that Mickey will serve Jordyn well. Lauren started, long ago, on Mickey doing walk-trot as well so it is a pretty wonderful tradition to see repeated.
As always, thanks for riding with us.